White Sox 7, Tigers 4
Drew Smyly (18 GS, 105.1 IP, 3.93 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 1.3 fWAR) threw his final innings as a Tiger. Five innings, four runs, no walks, 11 hits, and two strikeouts. Two innings later he was traded. The game was tied at four and they slowly started to give it away as Jackson was pulled mid-inning to head out in the same trade. Hunter and Martinez had back to back home runs, the bullpen wasn’t great, but it’s hard to think of this game as anything but as a farewell to Smyly and Jackson. David Price is now a Tiger and the Tigers happened to lose today. Justin Verlander (22 GS, 142.2 IP, 4.79 ERA, 4.11 FIP, 1.8 fWAR) will now pitch for his postseason spot starting tomorrow night.
The Moment: Jackson gets pulled mid-inning to an ovation as he’s dealt in the David Price deal.
The Tigers had to do more than just acquiring Joakim Soria. Soria was a much needed boost to the bullpen but you can’t trade two of your best prospects for a reliever if you aren’t planning to plug other holes. The window is closing and the Tigers saddled up by going out and getting David Price to beef up their rotation. The Tigers gave up Willy Adames, Austin Jackson and Drew Smyly in the process with Seattle working as the middle man.
The Tigers paid a high price, but one that had to be paid given the circumstances. Scherzer is likely gone after this year, Martinez is a free agent. Porcello and Jackson (was!) are free agents after 2015. Verlander and Cabrera are exiting their peaks. The Tigers are at a crossroads; go for it or reload. With an aging owner and a very weak crop of teams coming out of the AL East, the Tigers decided to go for it and this is what that looks like. Adding Price solidifies their odds of locking up the division and sets them up for a big showdown with the loaded A’s in October.
The Tigers weren’t satisfied with coming up short three straight seasons and Price will help there, but he will also replace Scherzer in 2015 and make that team a more legitimate contender before the band really starts to break up.
Price is great, he’s having a great year, and the projections love him. He’s a difference maker. He’s under control through next year and that’s as far ahead as the Tigers should be thinking. It’s time to win. They paid a steep price by dealing away prized prospects, but the Tigers are at a place where giving up future value makes sense. It was time to make a huge deal and they did it.
more coming later
Tigers 7, White Sox 2
Max Scherzer (22 GS 145.2 IP, 3.27 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 3.5 fWAR) faced three batters in the first inning, then Austin Jackson made an out, and then the next eight Tigers reached base and produced six runs. Everyone did something, but Castellanos delivered the big hit with a three run homer, and then basically nothing happened for a very long time. The Tigers coasted through at bats and let Noesi pitch six innings before they woke up against the pen leading to another run. Scherzer walked one and allowed five hits while striking out six and allowing a run over seven innings before the bullpen took over and guided this one to a smooth landing…well, for them. They’ll look to take the series behind Drew Smyly (17 GS, 100.1 IP, 3.77 ERA, 4.17 FIP, 1.1 fWAR) on Thursday.
The Moment: Nick Castellanos puts it out of reach with a 3-run blast in the 1st.
White Sox 11, Tigers 4
Anibal Sanchez (19 GS, 113.1 IP, 3.57 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 2.9 fWAR) had a very Sanchez-y night. He was very solid through the first five or six innings but as he approached the 7th inning and 100 pitches he started to tire and the Sox started to get to him. The bats had worked the Sox to a 2-2 draw to that point courtesy of a Hunter single, JDMart triple, and Holaday sac fly in the 2nd. The 7th inning was a disaster, as Ausmus let Sanchez allow three baserunners before going to Soria, whom he let pitch well after he put the game out of reach, likely burning him for tomorrow. The Sox tacked on two in the 8th and the Tigers mini-rally wasn’t nearly enough to make up for poor defense and Soria’s metldown. They will turn to Max Scherzer (21 GS, 139 IP, 3.37 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 3.2 fWAR) Wednesday to end the skid.
The Moment: Martinez slices a triple into the corner.
Angels 2, Tigers 1
No jury would convict Rick Porcello (20 GS, 133 IP, 3.25 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 2.0 fWAR) after this one. Allow me to paint a picture. Porcello dominated the Angels through 7 innings of work. His offense scored him one run during the game. He allowed five baserunners and struck out six batters. The only run he allowed came on a botched pickoff play, for which he deserves some penalty for the poor throw, but the runner scored because Austin Jackson simply didn’t return the ball to the infield and the runner just kept going. Then at 99 pitches, he got pulled for Joba because it was the 8th inning and that’s who Brad Ausmus uses in the 8th inning. Joba’s been good this year, but he allowed a go ahead blast to left center field and the Tigers lost. This is mostly a story about an offense that didn’t score, but it’s also about lazy defense, a bad bullpen moment, and a manager who probably should have let his starter continue given how sharp he was on this day. Anibal Sanchez (18 GS, 107 IP, 3.45 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 2.7 fWAR) on Tuesday.
The Moment: Porcello shines.
Angels 4, Tigers 0
If you like losing, this one kind of had everything. Justin Verlander (22 GS, 142.2 IP, 4.79 ERA, 4.13 FIP, 1.9 fWAR) was actually pretty good across seven innings, but couldn’t slam the door in the 6th and allowed some add on runs to give the Angels a cushion. Then of course there was the pickoff of Suarez, which the umpires allowed the Angels to challenge later than they should have, which led to Ausmus getting ejected without issuing a protest (Which he should have). Also, the umpires called Suarez out on a bunt play when the ball hit him in the batter’s box. Also, Hunter made a really bad error which led to a run in the 8th while Soria got BABIP’d to death in his debut. No offense, bad umpiring, Hunter defense. It wasn’t the sharpest of nights, but the Tigers have Rick Porcello (19 GS, 126.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 1.8 fWAR) going Sunday for a split.
The Moment: Ausmus gets worked up when the umpires allow the Angels to challenge late.
Angels 2, Tigers 1
Considering that it’s very late and because it is also very late, let’s do this in choppy unconnected sentences! Drew Smyly (17 GS, 100.1 IP, 3.77 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 1.1 fWAR) was awesome. He retired the first 13 batters he faced with nine strikeouts and ended the day with 11 punchouts to go along with one intentional walk and two runs allowed, both of which came in the 6th as the Angels started to lock in. The Tigers got their only run on a Cabrera solo shot and neither bullpen factored into the scoring. Justin Verlander (21 GS, 135.2 IP, 4.84 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 1.8 fWAR) goes Saturday in game three.
The Moment: Smyly retires the first 13 he faces.
Angelic? /logs off
Tigers 6, Angels 4
Max Scherzer (21 GS, 139 IP, 3.37 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 3.3 fWAR) managed to squeeze one shaky inning into an otherwise phenomenal start on Thursday. He went seven innings, allowed six hits and a walk to go with three runs, but he punched out eleven Angels (including Trout twice!) and was dominant outside the 5th inning. The Tigers manufactured a quick run in the 3rd inning, but really unleashed the attack in the 6th when they got four straight hits and three runs to start the inning. They tacked on insurance runs in the 7th and 8th and you’re happy they did. Joba allowed a run in the 8th and Nathan somehow did totally fine in the 9th to lock it down. It’s late, so go to sleep and get ready for Drew Smyly (16 GS, 94.2 IP, 3.80 ERA, 4.44 FIP, 0.8 fWAR) on Friday.
The Moment: Castellanos gives the Tigers the lead with a big double in the 6th.
Tigers 11, Dbacks 5
This game was essentially a three act play. The first act featured a good Anibal Sanchez (18 GS, 107 IP, 3.45 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 2.7 fWAR) and very potent Tigers bats. Before you knew it, the Tigers were in control of a 7-0 game, largely thanks to basically everyone in the lineup. Act two featured Anibal Sanchez allowing baserunners and runs, to the tune of 11 hits and a walk, totaling five runs of damage across 6.1 innings. Job came in to bail him out, which was great, but then Ausmus didn’t utilize the double switch, meaning that he had to hit for himself in the 8th inning. Fortunately, the Tigers added on four runs anyway, largely on a Cabrera home run, and Joba became superfluous in Act Three. So while Tuesday night was very disappointing, Wednesday was very appointing(?). The team will head further west to face the Angels and Mike Trout on Thursday with Max Scherzer (20 GS, 132 IP, 3.34 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 2.8 fWAR) taking the ball in game one.
The Moment: Joba Chamberlain batted.
Dbacks 5, Tigers 4
Rick Porcello (19 GS, 126.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 1.8 fWAR) gave up three runs on Tuesday night, but they were isolated events. For most of his seven innings, he was in complete control, allowing just five hits and no walks while striking out five. The Tigers got a run in the first and a run in the third to set up the 8th inning of joy and doom. The Tigers teed off on the Dbacks bullpen, culminating in a bases loaded single by Torii Hunter that gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead. Ausmus wanted to add on and he pulled Porcello for a pinch hitter with two outs and the bases loaded (at 77 pitches and a tired Joba). On average, the value of pinch hitting is something like 0.15 runs or a touch more, but the drop off to the Tigers terrible bullpen is likely more significant. Naturally, Coke walked two lefties, Alburquerque walked another, and then Krol allowed a single to give the Dbacks the lead and the win. Once again, the Tigers were thwarted by having bad relievers and a manager who isn’t a great tactician. They’ll try to take the series anyway on Wednesday behind Anibal Sanchez (17 GS, 100.2 IP, 3.22 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 2.6 fWAR).
The Moment: Torii Hunter singles up the middle to plate the tying and go-ahead run in the 8th.